Consulting Conversations: Dealing with the Failed Successor

Author:Hank Harris

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In this installment of Consulting Conversations, Hank Harris answers:

How does a client handle it when the successor can't run the business?

We'd like to think that everybody that gets picked as a successor will be the right answer and successful in what they do, but there are times when it doesn't work out that way.

The hope would be that you have enough bench strength in your organization to pick another successor. If you don't, the alternative is to go to the outside.

I think for most privately held businesses, that can be challenging. It's not impossible. I think some people think it's impossible, but you know there are many, many cases where an outsider comes in and actually does just fine. So I think privately held business owners don't tend to like that, and I do think it's better if they can grow their own. But sometimes that has to be done. Ultimately, you have to have a successor. If there is no successor, you can't find one, unfortunately for a private business, you either have to sell the business to an outside party, or you'd have to wind it down.

Hopefully, you can figure out an answer either from the inside or the outside.

We'd love to hear from any private business hunt owner in North Carolina that thinks we could be of some help to them in understanding how their business gets better or where it might go in the future.

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